Staggering figures are beginning to emerge from health workers in the country just one year on since the introduction of the Free Health Care Initiative. According to the President of the Sierra Leone Midwifery Association, Dr Jane Shepherd, over 876 women die annually as a result of in-adequate trained midwives in the country.
She made this statement recently at a ceremony held at the Princes Christian Maternity Hospital’s Antenatal Clinic at Cottage in Freetown.
She said “it is unacceptable that women and their babies continue to die in childbirth in Sierra Leone because of lack of access to midwives or staff with midwifery skills.”
Dr Jane Shepherd pointed out that there are less than 2 midwives for every 1000 live births, and that there are only 111 practicing midwives in the entire Sierra Leone.
She added that 340 midwives are needed before 2015 in a bid to reduce the high infant and child mortality rates to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
She went on to explain that the Sierra Leone Midwifery Association, in collaboration with Save the Children UK, is calling on government to make sure that every woman, no matter where they live, has access to a well-trained and adequately supported.
Though progress has been made, she said Sierra Leone Midwifery Association and Save the Children’s EVERYONE Campaign, believe that firm political and national commitments are needed to ensure that all women, no matter where they live, have access to a midwife during birth.
This call to action, she added, is supported by over 360 health workers who have signed a petition led by the Sierra Leone Midwives Association.
Dr Jane Shepherd, President of Midwifery Association in Sierra Leone said 876 women die as a result of child birth, stating that if midwives are supported, they can reduce infant and child mortality rate complications.
Alexander Readhead, Every One Campaign Manager of Save the Children UK, pointed out that ‘currently in Sierra Leone there aren’t enough midwives in the country.
She went to state that the Midwifery school in Makeni is a great venture and there are necessary progresses being made as salaries are being raised with performance based focus for health workers.
She called on the President to take the every woman campaign with a commitment towards the health sector.
Aruna Augustine Kamara, Communications Officer, gave a brief background of Save the Children UK activities in the country.
By Saidu Bah